Our history

United Way of Russia is a part of United Way Worldwide.

United Way of Russia has developed a transparent system that ensures the most efficient allocation of donations received from individuals and companies. Funding of all projects is reviewed and processed according to the international standards of United Way Worldwide, so you can be assured that your donation will actually be received by those who need it.

United Way is spreading around the world, with local United Way organizations in more than 45 countries. These local organizations exist under various names, and each is unique to its society, country and culture. But all of them are united by the simple idea that citizens can act together, pool resources and solve society's problems more effectively than would the efforts of an individual or a smaller group of people.

In 1990 United Way International opened its representative office in Moscow and appealed to local businesses to create an advisory council to help popularize the idea of charity in Russia. Subsequent years were marked by the representative office's development into a charity organization devoted to supporting Russians in need.

In 1997 the advisory council transformed into a Board of Directors and programs and funds management in Russia was handed from United Way International to United Way Moscow.

In 2008 United Way Moscow was registered as Russian Philanthropy Fund United Way of Russia.

History of United Way

The first United Way organization was founded in 1887 in Denver, Colorado, U.S.A. as a response to the increased social problems that occurred as a result of the rapid industrialization that was affecting many communities at the time. Community leaders worked with local charities to coordinate fundraising efforts through a single fundraising campaign for all, and the process became a way to mobilize communities to address critical needs more effectively. The idea rapidly spread throughout communities in the United States and Canada during the next several decades. The movement’s evolution occurred naturally in response to local conditions, not as the result of any institutional effort at the national or international level. It caught on because it was a simple idea that got results and could be readily adapted to the conditions of any community. In fact, formal national organizations were not founded until the 1920’s in the U.S. and the 1930’s in Canada, and even then they were voluntary associations formed to provide a forum for idea sharing among the local organizations, rather than to provide centralized national leadership. One of the earliest United Way organizations outside of North America was founded in 1923 in Melbourne, Australia. The Lord Mayor’s Charitable Fund was established through an initiative of the Lord Mayor in consultation with businesses, unions and community groups. While originally founded to support hospitals, the Fund rapidly embraced all charitable agencies in metropolitan Melbourne. Similarly, the United Community Chest of the Western Cape was formed in 1928 in Cape Town. Influential people from South Africa had seen the idea work in North American communities and adapted it to their own culture and needs, where it has evolved and flourished throughout South Africa over the years.

Today, globalization is encouraging the development of United Way organizations around the world. As more corporations become multi-national or global in their approach to doing business, they have expressed increased interest in supporting the many communities in which they operate, and often look to United Way as a global philanthropic partner who can engage employees and respond effectively and efficiently to human needs at the community level.

The model has proven to be very adaptable, changing to meet each country’s and community’s unique circumstances, including its culture, language and society. Community-based United Way organizations are at work in places as diverse as Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam; Kingston, Jamaica; Lagos, Nigeria; Moscow, Russia; Santiago, Chile; Shanghai, China; and Tel Aviv, Israel. There are also national organizations in countries like Australia, Canada, Japan, South Africa,and the United States that provide networks where the local organizations can learn from each other, build capacity, and foster collective approaches. United Way International (UWI) was formed in 1974 to serve these far-flung organizations, administer international grants, and support the creation of new United Way organizations around the world.

UWI affiliates enjoy many benefits including being a part of a global network where innovations created in one place can be transferred and leveraged around the world. They benefit from the strength and consistency of an international brand, as well as a diverse volunteer base that can bring a wide variety of resources, talent and perspectives to bear on issues. The international affiliation of local United Way organizations also facilitates the introduction around the world of the United Way model of community-based philanthropy through the sharing of knowledge and experience with new communities.

Even as the United Way movement continues to respond to environmental changes locally, nationally, and internationally, the basic idea of a “United Way” still resonates. Each local organization will remain as diverse as its community and its culture, but the universal idea of people voluntarily pooling their resources and working collectively to deal with urgent community needs has stood the test of time and geography. United Way is a successful idea that can work wherever there are concerned individuals who are willing to act together to improve the lives of their fellow citizens.

In 2008, United Way America and United Way International merged into one common organization United Way Worldwide (UWW).

In 2010 United Way Worldwide entered into a list of 100 most important brands according to Forbes, taking 26th place on the list. This is the only non-profit organization, which is generally included in this list.